Sunday 1 February 2015

New children's hospital to help local builders

Eilish O'Regan, Health Correspondent

Published 14/02/2014 | 02:30

Chief executive Eilish Hardiman pictured with nine-month-old Patrick Hempenstall at the briefing on the National Children's Hospital in Dublin yesterday. Picture: Frank McGrath
John Pollock, Project Director, Development Board and Eilísh Hardiman, CEO, Children’s Hospital Group Board with Patrick Hempenstall (age 9 months). Picture: Conor McCabe

THE new National Children's Hospital will directly employ 1,000 in the building phase and 2,500 when it is opened.

Project director John Pollock said it was hoped that unemployed building workers workers from the area around the site in St James's Hospital in south inner city Dublin would be among those given jobs after construction begins, hopefully next year.

"We will help them with their CVs and interview techniques.

"There will also be an apprentice programme. It will be a massive opportunity for the locality because all these workers will need to be fed," he said in an update briefing yesterday.

Mr Pollock said they would not know how much the projected cost would be until this summer, after the design has been developed.

The hospital, which has been subject to delays over the failure to secure planning permission on the original site at the Mater Hospital, will merge the three existing children's hospitals and should be completed by 2018.

However, the national paediatric hospital development board overseeing the project has yet to submit planning permission and is currently in the process of clearing the site.

Tom Costello, the former head of construction giants Sisk and who is chair of the development board, said the project was "not for the faint-hearted" and was akin to building the "Aviva Stadium and the National Conference Centre together".

"You can never spend enough time planning. The better you plan the easier it becomes. It is important also that we do not get carried away with grandiose plans about architecture which become more important that the functioning of the hospital," he added.

The hospital will be built with a mixture of State funding and "philanthropic donations".

Chief executive Eilish Hardiman said the hospital will have "overnight facilities for parents" in each child's room, all of which will be single rooms with en suite facilities.

Medical director Dr Emma Curtis said the hospital will care for patients from all over Ireland who have complicated and serious illness and who are in need of specialist care.

Irish Independent

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